Is Bale worthy enough to replace Ronaldo at Madrid?

Sankha Ghosh / 15 January 2016

Despite smashing the winning goal in the Champions League and Copa del Rey final in 2013/14 season, Gareth Bale has still been jeered by the Real Madrid supporters. A lesser character would have certainly crumbled under the pressure of the overly demanding crowd, but this season has seen an astonishing rise of Gareth Bale and eventually become one of Real Madrid’s standout performers.

Now Madrid supporters have begun to ask – is Gareth Bale the new king of Madrid?

Rafael Benitez was not at all cheered by everyone when he was appointed the manager of Real Madrid replacing Carlo Ancelotti, but Bale certainly did. With 13 goals and eight assists till now this season, Bale has proved why club president Florentino Perez spent so much money to bring him in and the Welshman will possibly be the one major shining light from Rafa Benitez’s underwhelming reign.

It looked like that Bale actually reserved his best performance of the season for the last game Benitez was in charge against Gary Neville’s Valencia. His flick during the build-up to the first goal was extraordinary, much like his touch in the last minute to bring the ball finally out of the air, although he eventually fired over the bar soon after. If he had managed to take that, surely difficult chance, who knows Benitez might have saved his job; though his axe had a sense of inevitability about it.

Many even say that the shocking result against Valencia was irrelevant, the Italian would have been sacked regardless of what happened in that match and also the way his teammates celebrated after Bale’s majestic header gave Real a 2-1 lead that showed it was not the players who wanted Benitez to be shown the door. On the other hand, the way Los Blancos actually surrendered the lead straight afterwards suggests that Benitez was holding onto his chair on borrowed time.

After ruthlessly replacing Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane assured the supporters he would continue to give Gareth Bale the same amount of affection he once received from the former boss. But as many have seen in the past, to manage a player’s ego is a lot easier said than done in reality.

In Zidane’s first match in charge, last weekend’s home fixture against Deportivo, Bale struck a sensational hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition that means it’s not a bad way to start your time under a new manager who has little experience in managing player’s ego.

Bale’s exceptional progress in the Spanish capital was that day rubber-stamped thanks to the positive reaction he achieved from the Real supporters at the end of his team’s 5-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna.

Having received regular jeers from over demanding supporters inside the Santiago Bernabeu stands the last term, Bale was instead cheered off following his hat-trick, adding more validity to his proclaimed improvement over the years.

During a trophy-less last campaign for Real Bale unexpectedly find it hard to become embraced by his own, despite netting 15 times and registering 11 important assists in all competitions for Madrid, but this season it hasn’t been the case like the last term.

The Wales hitman has already bagged 12 La Liga goals this season, which is just one less than he scored throughout the last term, he is also enjoying the joint-most assists record alongside Neymar and Ronaldo on seven.

And one can never ignore that Gareth Bale is consistently performing to such a high calibre even though certain factors are still not in his favour and making a switch in those particular areas could certainly reap even more from him.

Not only that, keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale happy at the same time looks to be an impossible task. Whilst the Welshman was thriving under Rafe Benitez this term, Ronaldo had to endure his worst goal-scoring stint in years and rumours subsequently suggesting he blamed Benitez for his relative demise. 

Bale is also not the main man at Real Madrid as long as Ronaldo keeps scoring goals in his own style, but a standout performance in new manager Zinedine Zidane’s first match in charge of the Los Blancos reignited thoughts on the situation.

It’s certainly difficult for any Real Madrid manager to plan in long term basis considering how rapidly the revolving door spins at Bernabeu, but it could be a wise decision for the Frenchman to build the team around Gareth Bale during his time in the dugout.

With Ronaldo at 30 and linked with moves away from the Spanish capital, the Portuguese superstar still has lots of goals left in him but perhaps Bale should now be Zidane’s future project at Real.

If the lethal form of Gareth Bale and lack of form from Cristiano Ronaldo continues in the second half of the season also, it will be easy for the Portuguese superstar to pin all the blame on the manager. Ronaldo’s body language, contribution and attitude have faced severe criticism this season, a scenario he hasn’t faced before. If he cannot turn the doubters around, Bale has shown whatever it takes to become the new king of the Bernabeu. Still it’s a long way to go for the Welshman.

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